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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visits MIT’s SMART Centre in Singapore

Governor’s visit spurs a discussion regarding transportation, ‘Big Data,’ and information technology.
(From left) SMART Executive Director John Desforge, Gov. Deval Patrick, and SMART Centre Director Rohan Abeyaratne.
(From left) SMART Executive Director John Desforge, Gov. Deval Patrick, and SMART Centre Director Rohan Abeyaratne.

On Dec. 16, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick visited the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s largest international research endeavor, to discuss how Massachusetts, SMART, and Singapore can collaborate in the areas of transportation, Big Data, and energy and water management.

Patrick was joined in his visit to Singapore by Massachusetts’ secretaries of transportation, of energy and environmental affairs, and of housing and economic development, as well as by other senior government officials and industry leaders.

“From life sciences and clean tech to water management and ‘Big Data,’ Massachusetts is working on many of the same innovations as Singapore,” Patrick said. “We are connecting with innovators, inventors, and investors here to show that the doors of Massachusetts open to the world, and we have identified a number of fronts on which to collaborate.”

During his visit, Patrick saw innovative research projects carried out by MIT’s Future Urban Mobility (FM) research group, including driverless vehicles, a congestion-aware routing system, and visualization of real-time data. FM is led by SMART lead investigator Professor Emilio Frazzoli from MIT’s department of aeronautics and astronautics.

Patrick received an overview of SMART from outgoing director Rohan Abeyaratne, the Quentin Berg Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, as well as a presentation about FM from Daniela Rus, an MIT professor of computer science and engineering and a principal investigator at SMART.

Patrick had an up-close view of the Live Singapore platform, which collects and distributes visualization of real-time data from different sources in Singapore so as to facilitate the management of the city. He also had the opportunity to ride on a driverless golf cart, which seeks to resolve transportation challenges such as the “first and last mile” problem.

Prior to this event, on Dec. 12, members of a Massachusetts delegation on water visited the SMART Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling, where they were introduced to projects on the management of water-distribution systems, dynamic water-quality monitoring, marine robotics, biomimetic aqua robots, and imaging in turbid water.

“The SMART research projects taking place in Singapore use the analytics and computing expertise of both regions to develop innovative solutions to major transportation challenges,” said Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Exposure to the technologies created through the Future Urban Mobility project will help to better inform the commonwealth’s ongoing dialogue about how ‘Big Data’ analytics play a role in improving our transportation future.”

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